SBJ/March 13 - 19, 2006/This Weeks News

CBS tournament sales solid for television, online offerings

IBM and Microsoft are returning to NCAA
tournament TV advertising after a year off.
Surveying the field of corporate players gearing up for this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament, which begins this week:

Tech, foreign autos drive CBS sales
Media buyers confirmed last week that CBS has had a solid sales showing for this year’s tournament. The network hit the streets with some discounted deals early in the sales process, signing a few major advertisers and laying a strong foundation. Since then, the network has held firm on pricing, agency sources said.

Price increases were less than 10 percent compared with last year, on a cost-per-thousand-viewer basis.

The technology category has been particularly strong, with IBM and Microsoft returning after sitting out last year. Another area of strength is foreign autos.

Andy Bernstein

SportsLine projects MMOD profit
With nearly 20 advertisers signed on for its March Madness On Demand service, CBS said it will generate more money through ad sales than it would have through subscriber revenue had it charged money to watch games online.

“We’re going to make money on this,” said Joe Ferreira, CBS vice president of programming.

A CBS network executive said most of the ad deals are valued in the mid-six figures. Conservatively, that would put MMOD at anywhere from $2 million to $6 million in revenue, easily surpassing the approximately $500,000 in subscriber revenue MMOD generated as a pay service last year.

Andy Bernstein

CompUSA joins NCAA Partner ranks
CompUSA’s business category and a willingness to activate around many of the NCAA’s 88 annual championships made it the choice to be the NCAA’s newest Corporate Partner company, officials who negotiated the deal said last week.

The deal was announced Wednesday. In a release, the Dallas-based electronics retailer noted its plan to give away trips to the 2006 and 2007 Men’s Final Fours as part of a promotion beginning this month.

Activation also is expected from other NCAA sponsors with the start of the tournament, including new TV ads from Pontiac, The Hartford, Lowe’s and State Farm. The Hartford also has purchased ad space on five billboards in Indianapolis for the Final Four, and State Farm is sponsoring one of several giant promotional shoes crafted in Indianapolis for the event.

— Ryan Basen

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